NBA Rumors: Zach LaVine Could Form Big Three With Jokic & Murray In Denver In New Trade Idea

Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls celebrates during a game against the New York Knicks.
Gettyimages | Elsa

One season after going all the way to the Western Conference Finals, the Denver Nuggets now sit at seventh in the Western Conference with a 17-14 record despite the presence of MVP candidate Nikola Jokic and the continued strong play of Jamal Murray. The Chicago Bulls, meanwhile, are exceeding most expectations with a 14-16 record and are just one spot shy of the top eight in the Eastern Conference. That, however, has not quieted the trade rumors regarding their All-Star shooting guard, Zach LaVine.

As suggested in a new trade idea, the Nuggets could get LaVine from the Bulls in a deal that would effectively let him form a “big three” alongside Jokic and Murray.

The Nuggets’ Offseason Losses Have Affected Their Performance

Mason Plumlee and Jerami Grant, then with the Denver Nuggets, defend against LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Gettyimages | Kevin C. Cox

On Wednesday, NBA Analysis Network took a look at the hypothetical deal, explaining that while the Bulls have improved behind LaVine’s strong performance, the Nuggets have seemingly regressed in the 2020-21 campaign. The outlet pointed out that this might be because role players such as Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee departed via free agency, with both joining the Detroit Pistons in the 2020 offseason.

“If they want to have any shot at making a deep playoff run in a crowded Western Conference again, they will need a superstar talent like LaVine,” the site added.

Nuggets Could Get LaVine For Three Players & Draft Assets

Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls dunks the ball.
Gettyimages | Patrick Smith

In the proposed trade, the Nuggets could theoretically acquire LaVine for a package featuring guards Gary Harris and R.J. Hampton, backup center Bol Bol, a 2021 first-round selection, and first-round pick swaps in the 2022 and 2024 seasons. This move would allow Denver to do the opposite of what happened when the New York Knicks acquired Carmelo Anthony from the Nuggets in 2011, giving them a superstar-caliber player whose value, as noted, is at an “all-time high” at the moment.

LaVine Could Transform The Nuggets Into An ‘Elite’ Team

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine is defended by David Nwaba of the Houston Rockets.
Gettyimages | Jonathan Daniel

According to the publication, the Nuggets could compete better with the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, and the Utah Jazz if they land LaVine from the Bulls. While Jokic and Murray have delivered as expected, Michael Porter Jr. has yet to fully break out as a star after missing close to a month due to the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols.

“They really need that third, reliable scoring option if they are to make it back to the Western Conference Finals,” NBA Analysis Network opined.

The Deal Could Be A Big Risk For Chicago

Montrezl Harrell, then of the Los Angeles Clippers, fights for a rebound with Chicago Bulls big men Wendell Carter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen.
Gettyimages | Jonathan Daniel

Aside from LaVine, the Bulls have several youngsters with tons of potential, including guard Coby White and frontcourt players Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., and Patrick Williams. These players all make up a young core that has helped Chicago achieve greater success in 2020-21, and with that in mind, the publication warned that trading LaVine could be potentially “detrimental” to the club.

Despite the risks involved in the hypothetical transaction, the site noted that the Bulls would still be getting a “great” trade package in return for their top scorer.